Upper and downer
Stay for the great food, pass on the coffee
The Upper Crust Bakery has a high-end-café atmosphere but is warm enough to welcome both renters and homeowners.
The downtown eatery serves up the love and has built a well-orchestrated indoor/outdoor café as well. A lot of creative thought and craftsmanship have gone into the new additions. Everything is solid—from the door handles, to the flowing tiles, to the track lighting for exhibiting art, to the anchor-like fans twirling above. And this is coming from a guy who usually prefers a lower-crust ambiance when dining.
Yes, the food, hmm, where to start? The croissants are simply the best in town. If there is a really good croissant school, the Upper Crust team must have not only attended, but also received top-class honors. Flaky, moist, sweet but not sugary, the croissants ($1.95) are Parisian quality and twice as big.
The quiche is excellent as well. My favorite of the three varieties is the Quiche Florentine ($3.95), which is made with spinach and cheese, including Romano and Swiss. I can distinctly taste the individual ingredients in the quiche—high-quality cheese, eggs and spinach—and the egg isn’t overcooked or cooked too fast, like most quiches I have tried when eating out.
There is also a variety of lunch salads and sandwiches, all made on fresh and fantastic rolls. My favorite salad is the Spicy Thai Peanut Tofu. It has a fusion of flavors, including scallions, carrots and a couple of other mystery veggies, and tofu of course, which is braised firm and immersed in the finest of Thai peanut sauces. It is perhaps the biggest bang for your buck at $5.95 a pound. That’s a gourmet lunch for two at a good price.
The desserts deserve their own paragraph. I already mentioned the croissants, and yes, they have the chocolate variety as well. The cookies are made like Grandma’s, with each having its own shape, only bigger than hers. I enjoy the oatmeal raisin ($1.15), but there are so many others, including the “best selling” fudgies ($1.35), peanut butter chocolate chip ($1.15), ginger snaps and frosted snickerdoodles, each with a unique frost swirl. The Upper Crust bakers are artists, I tell you.
And the cakes are beautiful, too. They are not in the neon-colored supermarket style. No, the Upper Crust prepares subtle cream and chocolate cakes and fruit-covered cheesecakes. From start to finish they are done well; inside and out they taste great. The old-fashioned fudge cake is so good that I don’t know what would happen if I were put in an empty room alone with one for any substantial length of time.
I take pride in the fact that I have enough sense not to order food I can make as well or better at home. That said, I could not hold a match to anything prepared at the Upper Crust, with one exception: the coffee. Yes, it is mind blowing the divide between the food and coffee. And I feel OK saying this because all of the other stuff is so good.
So what I do is hit the Naked Lounge first to grab a coffee, steal a newspaper and then head over to the bakery and deli fantasia at the Upper Crust.